The Real Estate market has proven to be a very lucrative and valuable source of income for many Nigerians. There are so many real estate investment options that exist in Nigeria such as property development, rental income, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and so on. It is an industry that provides a level playing ground for real estate investors through various legal structures. One of such options is the Property Co-ownership.
What is a Property Co-ownership?
Property Co-ownership is when two or more people share ownership of a particular property. This involves pooling resources together in order to acquire that property. And it has advantages such as:
- Being able to split the cost of the property
- Enables you acquire and have access to property you may not have been able to afford on your own.
- Subsidized cost of running the property as in the case of maintenance and repairs.
What rights and responsibilities do co-owners of property have?
Co-owners of a property usually have to sign a document called the Co-ownership agreement. This document states the rights and responsibilities of the co-owners. There are two major forms of Property Co-ownership which have different responsibilities and rights accorded to them. They are:
- Tenancy in common and
- Joint ownership
Tenancy in Common
This form of co-ownership allows each co-owner to have separate interests in the property but also have access to use the whole property. These interests may be equal or unequal depending on the percentage of contributions made by each individual.
Here, there is no right of survivorship. This means that if one of the co-owners dies, their interests are automatically transferred to the heir as stated in their will or by the law. The surviving heir now becomes a co-owner of that property.
In joint tenancy, all co-owners share equal interests and shares in the property. In this form of property co-ownership, there are survivorship rights. What this implies is that if a co-owner dies, his interest is automatically transferred to the other co-owners. Joint tenants also have equal rights and control of the property.
A joint tenancy is effective when the four unities are observed:
- Unity of Title: joint owners must have the same title to the property.
- Unity of Interest: joint owners must have equal share of the property.
- Unity of Time: the property must be acquired at the same time by the joint owners.
- Unity of possession: joint owners must have equal possession and rights to the whole property
What are the Principles of Co-ownership?
The Co-ownership structure enables two or more investors to purchase and get ownership of the property. Resources as well as risks are shared by co-owners. If a property is co-owned, it cannot be sold without the knowledge of other co-owners. If all the co-owners agree, then no issue arises but in the case of no unanimous agreement, issues arise.
The other option is to sell out your share of the property and lose co-ownership but this right does not apply in the marital home.
In the tenancy in common, co-owners can decide to terminate the Co-ownership of the property by partitioning the property if there are provisions for such in the terms of property allocation.
It is important to decide and agree on what form of co-ownership would be used when purchasing a property with other investors. This should also be stipulated in the necessary documents.
Which is the Most Common Form of Co-ownership?
Joint tenants’ form of co-ownership is usually common in family settings as parents would not want the family to retain ownership of the property no matter what happens.
Property Co-ownership is a cost effective investment structure as it gives investors an opportunity to partake in real estate deals that they may not be able to finance alone. At MKH, we are passionate about creating sustainable investment opportunities in Nigeria and can provide a wide range of real estate investment options for you to choose from. All you have to do is contact us by clicking here so we can kick start the process.